18:05 and 18:10

Yesterday's workout:
35 min easy
18 min tempo
40 min easy
18 min temp0
1 mile CD
= total of 16 miles

I know my tempo pace has quickened, but I was surprised to come through the first tempo session in 18:05 for 5k (I wanted to go longer than the 18 minutes just to see what I did 5k in). 18:05, really? Perhaps I went too hard, I thought to myself. I'll pay for that in another 5 miles.

The second tempo was just as quick and easy, though -- 5k in 18:10! That's awesome! Before TCM during a similar workout I averaged 18:50s for 5k tempos. Another fun stat to note: 1 week before TCM last year I did a 5k and finished in 18:07. My training log noted that I couldn't move any faster.

Nice improvement, I'll take it!


Meet Mesa!!

Our life just wasn't the same without a dog around!

We found Mesa on Craigslist (gotta love the site -- we've furnished our entire home from there!) from a family who had bought her as a puppy, but had since had two boys and was moving to a home without a yard. Not a good situation for a dog with a LOT of energy). I had posted for a Vizsla (look up the breed) a while ago, which was our ideal breed, but didn't expect a response.

Before their email, we had waivered back and forth. Should we get another dog? Puppy? Or nothing at all? We quickly realized we had NO time for a puppy. So then the question was... dog or no dog?

But then the owner forwarded pictures, and I was hooked :). Too cute not to have a "forever" home!! Best yest, she has been GREAT so far. She's super affectionate, a FABULOUS runner (runs alongside you without much pulling at all!!!), and just adds humor and adventure around the house. It's funny, but as much as I enjoyed Ellie around the home, I have fallen in love with Mesa.

I have to watch out for Mesa's paws - even though she has the stamina to run many, MANY miles, she hasn't been exercised much lately. Her paws are very soft, and were very raw after we ran her for two days. Granted, those first two days were 10 and 11 miles (note: she didn't even look WINDED after either of those). So I've scaled down her running until her feet can take it, but I don't think it'll be long. She'll be a fabulous running companion. She's already learning that she should be estatic whenever I ask "Go for a run?!?" :). Super fun.

Did I mention I have already fallen in love? :)


Phase IV - The start of a great relationships

I started Phase IV of the Daniels' plan about a week and a half ago. So far, things are going great.

It might be a mentality change. Instead of being buried inside of Phase III, where all I saw was high mileage & really tough workouts, I'm now seeing mileage taper down and the workouts becoming a little easier. Don't get me wrong, they're still super tough, there's just 40 minutes of tempo instead of 48 :). It has me thinking: let's ATTACK this workout & really try to zap the legs and get every ounce of benefit from the workout. My mentality in Phase III was just of survival -- try to get through this workout, get through this day, get through this week.

Maybe it's the mentality change or just an increase in fitness or just my body responding to a little less intensity (mileage last week was still 90, and my rolling 7 day week ending today was 92, so it's not responding to lower mileage yet), but I'm definitely feeling faster. It's a fun feeling.

Take today's long tempo run, for example. 21 total miles: 2.25 WU, 4x6 minutes, 10 miles easy, 4x6 minutes T, .5 CD (supposed to be 2 miles, but I was completely spent & just shuffling at a "doesn't-resemble-a-run" pace, so packed it in early). The first 4x6 minutes I felt very smooth, powerful, and efficient. 5:53 pace for the first, 5:57 for the 2nd, 5:50 for the 3rd, and 6:00 for the 4th. That's the first time my tempo pace has easily been below 6. Previously, my range was around 6:02-6:07. I held back; I could have gone faster, just going on perceived effort, but I knew there was 24 more minutes at the end of the long run.

After 10 miles easy, we started the next tempo reps. The spring in my step wasn't as apparent :). I had to work a little more, but times were still great: 5:57, 6:01, 6:01, 5:53.

It's fun to have these mini-breakthroughs. I can't wait for the workouts to come! :).


Crazy Legs

Apparently that's what it's called when you can't control your legs & start tripping over them at the end of a marathon.

It was also the cause of concern during the middle of last week. On Tuesday, I did 4x12 minutes at tempo pace. It felt terrible from the beginning (after the 1st one I told Brenden, my running partner, that I wasn't so sure about this workout... makes for a LOOONG workout), so I was glad I had someone running them with me to help get me through. On the 3rd repeat, my quad sort of gave out & I nearly tripped over myself. My quads have been full of lactate lately, and I think the reason I was having a hard time controlling them during this workout was because of the lactate, or genereal fatigue. And also because 4x12 minutes is also a lot of work to do at 6 min/mile pace :).

Tuesday night the inside of my knee began to hurt. More of a pulling sensation than anything, but it wasn't anything I had ever felt before. I was honestly a little scared. Was it because my shoes were worn out? I checked - YEP, way overdue for a new pair. I had worn through all of the black rubber sole on the outsides of both heels. Note to self: that's stupid. Check my shoes more often.

Wednesday walking around work, I felt that pulling sensation all day. I tried to stretch my quad and knee area, and felt a general pulling sensation there. NOOOOO. I knew that this wasn't a good feeling, and was even more scared when my noon-time run on Thursday had two stops during it to stretch the quad/knee. This can't be happening, I thought to myself!

Thursday late day I headed to "the miracle worker" (aka Jim Patterson, my chiropractor). He did some quick tests, and found that the quad right above the inside of the knee was completely knotted up. He did some deep tissue massage and moved the joint around a lot. Not the most comfortable thing in the world, but he reminds me to close my eyes and let the pain escape. That actually works, believe it or not.

Thursday's evening run, after the chiro visit, of 10 miles went GREAT. Seriously. No pain, no pulling sensation on the joint. Really?!? Jim is THAT good :).

Since then I've made sure to massage that quad, roll out the legs more often, and in general, just make sure to take inventory of my body & how it's feeling after every run. Any pain? Any aches? What else can I be doing to make sure I stay healthy?

So, a little bit of a scare, but I'm on the road again. This week is my last big mileage week (low 90s), and then there are just FIVE more weeks until the marathon. WOW!! Let's hope I can remain healthy for all of them :).


17:36.66 Alumni 5k!

New all-time PR - that's 4 for 4 so far in 2011!

Although a little slower than my goal (2.5 seconds off of the stadium record), I'm still very happy with it. It was really windy on Saturday (15mph), and I ran solo from the beginning. The next girl was over 30 seconds behind me, and the third woman was over a minute behind.

So, all things considered, a great day for me! Makes me want to try another 5k again, this time with good weather and good competition.

Now... onto the LAST week of Phase III training. Should be fun!!